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Carrier Enterprise Still Fighting After Sinking 19 Japanese Ships

WITH THE PACIFIC FLEET, Dec. 7 (Delayed) - The 19,900-ton aircraft carrier Enterprise, in the year since Pearl Harbor, has sunk nineteen Japanese ships, including three carriers, and has damaged thirteen more, while her airplanes and anti-aircraft fire have shot down at least 185 planes.

The ships sunk totaled 211,200 tons, and the ships damaged 157,000 tons additional.

The tonnage sunk by the air groups of this one swift-striking carrier, unaided, is greater than the combined total of British and German tonnage sunk in the Battle of Jutland.

With the assistance of other vessels, the Enterprise has sunk ten more vessels, for a grand total of twenty-nine ships totaling 322,700 tons, and she has helped damage seven more vessels, for a total of twenty vessels with aggregate tonnage of 222,000.

[Burns's story was released for publication after the Navy in Washington yesterday issued a statement disclosing that the Enterprise "is still afloat and fighting" after absorbing terrific punishment, "belying the belief that carriers are extremely vulnerable." The Navy said the Enterprise sank or damaged twenty warships between Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Guadalcanal last November, and brought destruction to at least 140 Japanese planes.]

To do all this the Enterprise has steamed 96,000 miles to take her aircraft within reach of enemy targets.

She has been in every naval battle of the Pacific Ocean except the Coral Sea engagement. Then, within two days' sailing, she was detected by Japanese patrol planes, and the proximity of the ship may have caused the Japanese to divert some of their power.

The men of the Enterprise, who have not seen their homeland for twenty months, took part in these important actions:

The landing of Marine pilots and planes at Wake Island on Dec. 3, 1941.

Pursuing a Japanese carrier force on Dec. 7, 1941.

Patrolling the approaches to Oahu through December and January, 1942.

Attempting to relieve the garrison at Wake Island.

The Marshall Islands raid.

The Wake Island raid.

The Marcus Island raid.

Covering troop landings throughout unarmed South Pacific islands, and nailing down the supply route to Australia.

Landing Marine pilots at Efate (in the New Hebrides), then the farthest base in the South Pacific.

The Midway Battle of June 4-6, during which "Big E" sank two enemy carriers and helped sink a third.

Covering Marine landings on Guadalcanal, Aug. 7-9.

The first Solomons holding battle, Aug. 24.

The Battle of Santa Cruz Islands, Oct. 26, in which eighty-four planes attacked the Enterprise.

The Enterprise's story, essentially a resume of the war in the Pacific in the last year, is one aviators fearlessly risking their lives to press home attacks, of gunnery crews shooting straight despite enemy machine-gun attacks, of engineers keeping steam up, of damage repair crews controlling fires, all despite fearful odds.

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... offensively at the Japanese by participating in the raid on the Marshall and Gilbert Islands in January, 1942 - the first American offensive blow against Japan - and helped protect the aircraft carrier Hornet when she carried Brigadier General James H. Doolittle's air raiders on the first leg of their historic mission to Tokio.

The Enterprise, according to the Navy, has already inflicted damaged on the enemy amounting to eight to ten times her cost of construction, which was $19,000,000. She was launched Oct. 3, 1936.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the Enterprise's extraordinary career, from the standpoint of naval strategy, is that her demonstrated ability to absorb terrific punishment refutes the theory, rather generally held, that carriers are extremely vulnerable. Although she was "blasted by enemy bombs and menaced by enemy torpedoes, at least three of which she avoided by deft maneuvering," she is, according to the Navy, "still afloat and fighting."

During the first year of the war the Enterprise had three commanders. Captain George D. Murray, of Washington, was her first commanding officer until July, 1942, when he was relieved by Captain Arthur C. Davis, of Worcester, Mass. Davis was succeeded by Captain Osborne B. Hardison, of Wadesboro, N.C., in November. All three have since been promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral, having earned the Navy Cross while in command of the Enterprise.

An officer who commanded one of the plane squadrons on the Enterprise is quoted as saying: "You can certainly say this for the old lady: wherever anything is happening in this war, she's there and in the thick of it."

USS Enterprise Given Presidential Citation

AN ADVANCED PACIFIC BASE, May 29. (AP) - The aircraft carrier Enterprise, which probably has wreaked more havoc on the Japanese navy and air arm than any other ship of the U.S. fleet, was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation recently by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, the Navy announced Friday.

The Enterprise is the 15th ship so rewarded. The presentation was long delayed because the carrier has been so active she seldom has been in port long enough to receive honors.

Admiral Nimitz credited the Enterprise and her air squadrons with destruction of at least one of every type of Japanese combat ship and with destroying hundreds of enemy aircraft in her many major engagements in the Pacific campaign.

The Citation read "for outstanding performance in action." The Navy, for security reasons, declined to elaborate.

Admiral Nimitz himself, in presenting the award, said:

"I entrust to you the future career of this magnificent ship. I know that you will acquit that responsibility well."

The award came almost as a birthday present for the Enterprise, which was commissioned May 12, 1938.

Since Pearl Harbor the Enterprise has roamed the Pacific engaging Japanese forces in several theaters.

Some admirals and captains who have earned the "fightingest" reputations in the Pacific have served on the Enterprise but their names and records also are not yet permitted to be published.

Only when the war is ended can the full, daring, thrilling story be told of her officers and men, some of whom hardly have set foot on land since Pearl Harbor.

Capt. S. B. Ginder, accepting the citation for the Enterprise, assured Admiral Nimitz:

"The Enterprise and her air groups have always fought together as a team"

"In combat this ship and her air groups have lost some of their best - those officers and men can never be replaced - but the concentrated training of replacement personnel has maintained the fighting team."

"On May 12 we celebrated the fifth year of service of our ship. There are still some on board - some 140 officers and men - who placed her in commission."

"Time and the exigencies of the service will slowly thin out the veterans of past battles - but it forever be an honor to serve in this gallant ship and the veterans and newcomers solemnly vow to uphold the faith and confidence of you - our Commander in Chief."

Enterprise Bags 20 Ships, 140 Planes

WASHINGTON, June 1. (AP) - The Navy, reviewing the year which led to President Roosevelt's citation of the carrier Enterprise, said the Enterprise sank or damaged 20 warships and brought destruction of at least 140 Japanese planes.

The report said the Enterprise was the only carrier to get into action at Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941, and the first U. S. carrier to strike offensively.

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